This article is one of a series of editorial articles that express personal opinions and views. They are written with no pretensions to be error free. I will gladly correct substantial errors of fact. My opinions can change, depending upon my awareness of changes in factual information. It is my intent to remain focussed on specific public issues, regarding the personalities involved. For all I know, all the characters are saints, concerning their private lives and other public business...
Changes may be requested by E-MAILing the details to
Commissioner Erickson's public stand against acts of questionable, or corrupt official behavior, regarding the "Harbor Enterprises" property, and other public business, appear to prompt Leon "Butch" Jenerou, to run as a candidate, against Doug Erickson, for Schoolcraft County Commissioner, District 4. Butch's "platform", published in the 10/25/04 edition of The Advisor, as quoted below, stands as documented testimony concerning the implied hazards to the public when they elect little more than a "good ol' boy", to public office.
I am Leon (Butch) Jenerou running for Schoolcraft County Commissioner, District 4. I am a veteran of the Vietnam War. I have been a Schoolcraft County resident all of my life. My reason for running for the Commissioner is to work for the people of Schoolcraft County and with the Board of Commissioners to provide the best county government. The people of Schoolcraft County already made their choice in the primary election so I saw no reason for a debate with the present County Commissioner who already lost in the primary election. I have spent time going over minutes of the County Board as to how he voted on issues. While the Chairman and Vice-Chairman were out of town in February of 2004, that Commissioner chaired the meeting, adding new items to the agenda. One added item was a proposal to not allow the people of Schoolcraft County to use the courthouse on weekends. The courthouse had been used in the past, including for 4-H and public health. At the same time period he told the Health Department to look for new quarters and move out of the courthouse, although they were paying the County $52,000 a year in rent. He also tried to charge men and women to play horseshoes at the Pines Park after the same men had put in new horseshoe pits. He also voted against selling the Harbor Enterprises building for $60,000. At the time the building was purchased from Lakehead Pipeline for $29,000, the Mental Health Board could not own property according to state law. Since then, the Mental Health Board has formed an authority and is now able to own property. They would like to improve the building to better serve their clientele. Mental Health had rented the building since the time of purchase. In the meantime, the county had sold part of the property for $40,000 - retaining a small portion of property to add to the County's Industrial Park. In regard to insurance for low income people - Marquette County has an insurance program in place. Marquette County received a $2.6 million grant to help the other fourteen counties put an insurance program in place for low income people. This program will be available regardless of who the Commissioner is. One of the issues in the ad for a debate was Pines Park spending versus fixing the airport terminal. After asking a few questions, I found out that both projects will be completed. Pines Park improvement will be done with mostly donations while the terminal building repairs will be funded with some of the rent money paid for rent from American Transmissions for property they have rented on the west end of the airport property. I am asking for your support in the November 2nd election. If elected, I will do my best to represent the people of the 4th District and the people of Schoolcraft County by serving on the Board with an open mind and no personal vendettas. Sincerely, Leon (Butch) Jenerou Paid Political AdvertisementFrom my perspective, as a good ol' boy, Butch is good company. That said, I do not want him as a county commissioner. I do not want a Schoolcraft County Commissioner who supports the selling of county real estate at less than fair market value. I do not want a Schoolcraft County Commissioner, who supports the give-away of public value to private interests. I do not want a Schoolcraft County Commissioner, who attempts to deceive me, not with "fish tales", but with a public political platform of lies and half truths, out of context, regarding the honest and conscientious efforts of a competent county commissioner; the only one I have recognized in the past 15 years.
It may be too late for Commissioner Erickson to respond to the deceptive statements and implications of Leon Jenerou's "last minute" paid political advertisement. That advertisement touts Leon's ignorance and lack of ethics, in a manner that denies Commissioner Erickson the opportunity for an appropriate response, within an appropriate period of time, for interested electors to have the option to consider the likelihood that Mr. Jenerou's written statements are likely self serving deceit.
I have no problem responding to much of which Leon Jenerou wrote of. I have no problem because I witnessed much of the county business of which he wrote, and understood the public context and history in which it took place, beyond what he claimed to have read in the minutes. Whatever Butch may be aware of, concerning public business, considered in private, I know nothing.
"My reason for running for the Commissioner is to work for the people of Schoolcraft County and with the Board of Commissioners to provide the best county government."The "best county government" is to do the following as he states as fact, or implies, by the context associated with his written words.
I quote Leon's own words, in the context that I cannot read Leon's mind, but I did witness much of what he refers to, concerning public business that I have no reason to believe he attended:
"While the Chairman and Vice-Chairman were out of town in February of 2004, that Commissioner chaired the meeting, adding new items to the agenda.""Adding new items to the agenda" - If new agenda items are unknown to the public and acted upon by the County Board at the same meeting they are introduced, then violations of open meetings may have taken place, i.e. public business done without public knowledge. The minutes, of the 02/26/04 Schoolcraft County Audit and Finance Committee meeting, record that Commissioner McKinney added MSHDA grant business, approved by the committee, of which Commissioner Erickson is a single member. Beyond soliciting public comments, no action was taken... Soooo, the "added" item Butch is concerned about must address the availability of Schoolcraft County Courthouse facilities available to the public, during weekends:
"One added item was a proposal to not allow the people of Schoolcraft County to use the courthouse on weekends."As the "item" was listed on a public and published agenda, for the 02/26/04 meeting, as "new business" to be considered by the Committee, and not added at that meeting, as Leon claims, then I am forced to conclude that Butch lied, because his platform statement is untrue. Regarding the point that Butch failed to make, concerning Commissioner Erickson's courthouse hours position, the minutes record that "It was the consensus of the Committee members present that the courthouse should not be open to the general public on weekends." As an audience member present at that meeting, I noticed nothing amiss, concerning the unanimous consensus of both committee members, and attendant Commissioner McKinney, that the county could not justify the extra costs for business that could be conducted, in most cases, during the week.
Based on my understanding of the business, that I witnessed being discussed at the time, nothing new was added, or taken away, from the public use of the building. The choice to avoid regular weekend hours did not preclude prior arrangements being made to use the facilities, as had been the case in the past, with an authorized and responsible person to insure the security and integrity of the facilities.
I fail to understand the substance of Butch's falsely based challenge of non-issues.
"At the same time period he told the Health Department to look for new quarters and move out of the courthouse, although they were paying the County $52,000 a year in rent."I heard no such business discussed. I heard of some similar discussion at an LMAS meeting in which Doug stated, in so many words, "...that if the Health Department was not happy with their current quarters, then they could move out, because there were other government agencies that would move in, immediately, at higher floor space rates." That paraphrased statement, regarding the responsible economic realities of courthouse operation, does not come close to the verbal eviction claim of Leon's published deceit.
"He also tried to charge men and women to play horseshoes at the Pines Park after the same men had put in new horseshoe pits."Let me tell you what I witnessed and heard, at open meetings, concerning free use of the Pines Park facilities. It was County Board Chairman Frenette's stated intent to use the public facilities for free, for a private party to entertain his supporters prior to this year's primary election. It was County Board Chairman Frenette's stated intent to allow certain individuals, associated with voluntary improvements to the Pines Park, to use park facilities for free.
Commissioner Erickson spoke up on both occasions to emphasize his understanding that voluntary support and additions, for any public property, grants no person or group special privileges, regardless of how appreciative the community may be. Commissioner Erickson's position indicated, to me, that it was his understanding, regarding the use of public property, State of Michigan legislation provides no special recognition to certain classes of individuals, within the context of the Schoolcraft County government business that Leon Jenerou referred to.
To state Doug Erickson's voiced concerns, differently, all local taxpayers pay equally, for the private and exclusive use of public Pines Park facilities.
Contrary to my understanding, regarding the use of public Pine Park facilities, Chairman Frenette and candidate Butch Jenerou have stated and written beliefs that imply a caste system of privilege, in Schoolcraft County. I have yet to determine whether it is based on skin color, net worth, religion, penis size, or some irrelevant standard.
"He also voted against selling the Harbor Enterprises building for $60,000."He sure did, with lotsa relevant reasons. It would appear that, by his written testimonial, Butch Jenerou approves of unethical or illegal transfer of county property. Commissioner Erickson's position made it clear, to all concerned, that, just because Schoolcraft County received certain value for "free", it did not mean that certain Schoolcraft County Commissioners had the right to give away that value owned by the "public" they represent.
"In regard to insurance for low income people..."To me, the insurance topic read like mindless ramblings... I failed to understand the meaning or purpose.
"One of the issues in the ad for a debate was Pines Park spending versus fixing the airport terminal."Once again, I fail to understand the point of Leon's rambling, but I have witnessed, during the course of several recent audit and finance meetings, a failure of County Board Chairman Frenette to recognize that the county airport terminal's leaking and seriously deteriorated roof is more important to repair than paving the entrance road to the Pines Park. What makes the scenario all the more ludicrous, is that the county did not have the funds to do either, until Commissioner Erickson, doing the job he was elected to do, struck a short term airport property lease deal that provided revenue to do both, in the new fiscal year.
After Commissioner Erickson had his ass chewed by Chairman Frenette, for being on the job, with the brains to negotiate a deal, before the lessee's agent went elsewhere, he had to remain objective and civil while a clueless Frenette whined at two public meetings that he will not be able to keep a promise, to those to whom he owed political i.o.u.'s, to get the Pines Park park road paved, this year.
Then, to add insult to injury, along comes Leon Jenerou, noticeably absent from most governmental meetings that addressed the business he wrote of, with lies and incoherent innuendo that Commissioner Erickson committed foul deeds relative to the Pines Park and airport terminal business.
Yo! Leon! There are two Schoolcraft County Commissioners on the audit and finance committee. Most of the time, the full five member County Board attends, and discuss the agenda business at those meetings. To the best of my knowledge, based on public business I have witnessed, there is only one that has a good head for numbers and finance. None of the committee members is County Board Chairman Frenette. The Audit and Finance Committee votes to take action on all business it considers. The entire Schoolcraft County Board of Commissioners, with the noticeable exception of Chairman Frenette, agreed to give priority to terminal repairs, over Frenette's continuous single minded babble to pave the Pines Park road first.
I fail to understand why Commissioner Erickson is remiss in his public responsibility, regarding the Pines Park and airport terminal business, and all other public issues candidate Jenerou wrote about in his published political ad.
"I am asking for your support in the November 2nd election."Sorry, Butch...
"If elected, I will do my best to represent the people of the 4th District and the people of Schoolcraft County by serving on the Board with an open mind and no personal vendettas."Having been a former political foe of Commissioner Erickson, I will vouch for the fact that on occasion, like most folk, Commissioner Erickson can get personal, as I can. I will also vouch for the fact that, in his case, and mine, it seldom, if ever, gets personal until someone else makes it so. That said, I have no reservations, in general, about the manner in which he conducts public business, whether I agree with him, or not. A closed mind and personal vendettas are not his standards for conducting public business, but a lot of his political foes have such standards, many examples of which I have witnessed and documented.
From my perspective, Schoolcraft County needs to retain the only competent and honest commissioner I have seen in 15 years. Commissioner Erickson's accomplishments have been ignored, often, by local media that find it more politically and financially expedient to kowtow to members of Schoolcraft County's Shadow Government, and its lackies. I hope that enough electors recognize the liars and their lies, without the help of local media, and help the county retain the few qualified and honest public servants it has.
Please, write-in Doug Erickson as Schoolcraft County Commissioner, District 4, this November 2.
If you don't want to write-in Doug Erickson, give some serious thought to Pinocchio. I can vouch that Pinnochio has never lied concerning any Schoolcraft County government business, and I know that he never promoted the squandering of Schoolcraft County public assets, regardless of the blockhead he knows he is.